On the mind of the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

Mar 29, 2024

Today is Good Friday. As always, our Good Friday service (watch it here on YouTube) was “stripped down” — a stark altar, sorrowful music, solemn and pleading prayers, and a homily that captured the agony of Jesus on the cross.

We also had a Stations of the Cross prayer service, in which we travelled around the Nave to pause and meditate on the fourteen stations depicting Jesus’ final moments of suffering and death. The stations were painted by Incarnation children earlier this Lent and will remain in the church for the next year. I encourage you to check them out. A child’s creation always gives a nod to joy no matter what it depicts. In this case, a nod to the glimmer of joy in God’s heart beneath the pain of crucifixion.

We know that Good Friday is good because Jesus’ death saves us from our sins. It was part of God’s plan of salvation all along. Like one of the children’s stations of the cross, Good Friday always gives a nod to joy. We would not commemorate Good Friday if it were not for Easter Sunday. As we prayed at each station today:

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

At this point, the church is now prepared for our first celebration of Easter tomorrow night at the Great Vigil. The fragrant smell of lilies has permeated the space, and it’s absolutely lovely. Standing in the sanctuary, I stand in that nod to joy and can appreciate the juxtaposition between the pain of Good Friday and the hope of Easter Sunday.

We are now in an in-between time, a “Holy Saturday” time, when Jesus lays in the tomb. It’s into this juxtaposition that the Easter Vigil fits. We will begin tomorrow night’s service in the dark of the tomb and end in the light of the resurrection.

The Easter Vigil is also a time for the Renewal of Baptismal Vows, remembering that we are raised to new life in Jesus through baptism. Below is a meditation I wrote several years ago with this aspect of the service in mind. Whether or not you can join us in worship at the Vigil, take a moment to renew your commitment to Christ in your heart.

Imagine yourself in the tomb with Jesus at the very moment of resurrection. Before the stone rolls away, before the light streams in, Jesus sits up in the darkness, and you are seated next to him. The two of you remain there in silence, simply breathing… 

“Are you ready for this?” Jesus asks.

“I think so,” you say. 

“Living a resurrected life is not easy.” 

“I know.” 

“You have to feed my sheep, love the unlovable, and speak truth to power.”

“I know.”

“You will be broken, like me.” 

“I know.”

“Resurrected life will break you. But for that very reason, it will also make you whole. For I am with you in this, and you will be bringing my presence more fully into the world. So are you sure you are ready?”

“Yes,” you say resolutely. “Yes, I am ready.”

“Alleluia,” whispers Jesus. “Alleluia. Amen.”